Sabah is a haven for tourism that attracts visitors more than before but is hindered not only by the current pandemic but also by the current internal problems such as safety, fish bombings and other related issues.
Datuk Philip Yong, Director of the Malaysian Chinese Business Council (MCBC), said that when visiting Sabah the State Government should thus place more emphasis on tourists' safety and security.
In this respect, Yong thinks that the state tourism industry should not only look at safety issues, but also at airports management and authorities, how they treat visitors, unlicensed guides' problems,and tour drivers, and unlicensed accommodations.
“To attract and keep visitors returning to Sabah, they have to feel safe, welcomed and wanted,” he said.
“Visitors must be treated with respect and warmth, be it from locals, traders, business operators or from security personnel,” he added.
Yong stated that when visitors were asked to express their displeasure in Sabah, they frequently stated that officials from the Immigration or Police Departments were not friendly, polite, or helpful enough.
He suggested that Sabah follow the lead of Vietnam or Macau and establish a proper tourist police unit that is well trained to handle visitors and their problems encountered here.
He said that this can help tourists to feel safe and to reduce communication and other misunderstandings.
Concerning unlicensed guides, unlicensed accommodations, and tour buses without permits, he stated that strict and committed political and enforcement intervention would be required.
“As long as the authorities have the will to really look into these issues and go down hard on offenders, I believe we can solve the problem in no time,” he said.
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